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Minnie and Paul Changing for Twins?

Posted by Ted Schwerzler , 11 August 2020 · 4,804 views

minnesota twins minnie and paul
Today WCCO posted a story regarding the Minnesota Twins longstanding logo of Minnie and Paul shaking hands. The depiction is of two individuals representing Minneapolis and St. Paul coming together over what would be the Mississippi River. In the ongoing effort to advance diversity and inclusion however, the imagery is now be called for questioning.

While not a Twins employee, Dr. Charles Crutchfield acts as the Twins consulting dermatologist. He offers that the pair need a fresh look that, “honors and reflects the team’s players and its fans from different backgrounds. He goes on to say the change is “long overdue.”

Although I initially posted my thoughts on Twitter saying in short, “This is a no for me,” there’s a bit more nuance to unpack here. I couldn’t be more supportive of initiatives looking to drive a heightened opportunity for diversity and acceptance. Further, I remain open to the idea that we can revisit history and even change the way we both celebrate and cherish it. What I think those avenues provide however, are legitimate opportunities for growth and advancement. What I think should be avoided is an agenda designed solely to spark a false sense of need.
In short, the imagery of Minnie and Paul couldn’t be more unassuming and less offensive. While there is no indication of a female or person of color within the logo, suggesting a need to create that storyline for the sake of diversity falsely applies an impact of presumed consciousness. We don’t need to be told whether the two individuals are trans, their sexual orientation, or their political beliefs. It’s a picture of two communities coming together to support one Twins Territory.
This story appears to be the work of WCCO sports reporter Norman Seawright. I didn’t see a name attached in the byline, but he chimed in on Twitter. The initial response was that a change in skin tone of the individual on a logo could “inspire someone who looks like me (Norman is African America) and isn’t into baseball to give it a shot.”
I have no idea what the world looks like through the eyes of someone in a minority class, and I’ll never pretend to understand. What I think is fair is suggesting that there’s a leap in believing inclusivity is spawned more by creating a talking point in an image moreso than actual initiatives that reflect genuine action. Almost more than any other sport, baseball’s on-field diversity is unmatched. We still need to do a better job stretching that to all other facets of the game and that remains a work in progress.
Maybe I’m way off on this, but channeling focus into something that should be found in no way offensive looks like a hollow workaround to a greater good. What are your thoughts?

  • DocBauer likes this



Unfortunately sports are a de facto religion for a lot of folks. Even though it's an innocuous change, mess with their holy icons and see how fervently they will respond. I personally like the change and would probably reminisce on teammates Harmon and Rod or Herbie and Puck or Joe and Torii when I look at it. 

 

PS - Minnie and Paul are NOT practicing safe distancing.

 

Unfortunately sports are a de facto religion for a lot of folks. Even though it's an innocuous change, mess with their holy icons and see how fervently they will respond. I personally like the change and would probably reminisce on teammates Harmon and Rod or Herbie and Puck or Joe and Torii when I look at it. 

 

PS - Minnie and Paul are NOT practicing safe distancing.

This is a good point.

 

I am okay with a change. To me, I like the overall theme of the logo (two baseball players shaking hands over the river) and I hope that stays. No biggie if they want to make the race of the players Latino, Black, Brown or Green. All good.

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Ted Schwerzler
Aug 11 2020 05:50 PM
I have no problem with there being a change made, but I think the discussion is about why you’d do so. What do you believe it will accomplish, and is there any reason to believe that it’s doable with the action. I think there are far better initiatives the Twins are already partaking in, and could see something like this being viewed as pandering to the least impactful measure.
    • Channing1964 likes this
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strumdatjaguar
Aug 12 2020 08:50 AM
They already slimmed them down. I say go back to the original two fat guys shaking hands across the River (no elbow bumps). This is not a Chief Wahoo thing that needs to be remedied. Bring back Skeetah for the race too. Get rid of Gracie the mutant goose
    • Channing1964 likes this

The charm of Minnie and Paul is, honestly, that it's a dated art style. 

 

So I suppose it's due for a tweak. 

 

Big meh. It's like their 3rd logo anyway. Changing Minnie and Paul is about as controversial as Geico adding another spokesman.

    • bighat likes this
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Parker Hageman
Aug 13 2020 12:33 PM
What I think should be avoided is an agenda designed solely to spark a false sense of need.

 

 

Why is requesting a "subtle yet very significant update that honors and reflects the team’s players and its fans from different backgrounds" a false sense of need?

 

Inclusion is a very real need. As I read Crutchfield's statements, he is using that as an opportunity for a discussion on what that looks like, not a condemnation on the existing logo. 

 

In short, the imagery of Minnie and Paul couldn’t be more unassuming and less offensive.

 

 

Nobody said that the logo was offensive.

 

Crutchfield never mentioned being offended about the logo or the logo itself being offensive. In fact, he said that he has "always loved Ray Barton’s original ‘Minnie and Paul’ logo design" in his statement. 

 

He provided updated version of the logo he provided on his Facebook page. In addition to being a seamless transition, the Black person on the St. Paul side not only provides a level of diversity to the logo, but it could also serve to honor Roy Campanella who became the first African-American to play in the American Association when he joined the Saints in 1948

 

What I think is fair is suggesting that there’s a leap in believing inclusivity is spawned more by creating a talking point in an image moreso than actual initiatives that reflect genuine action.

 

 

There is certainly room for both in this game.

 

The sport honors Jackie Robinson one day a year by having every player wearing 42 or black and white jerseys. Some teams choose to use Negro League uniforms on turn-back-the-clock days.

 

This is imagery. 

 

You can have both discussions about how images are perceived AND work toward actionable changes. 

 

Maybe I’m way off on this, but channeling focus into something that should be found in no way offensive looks like a hollow workaround to a greater good.

 

 

Again, no one said the logo was offensive. 

 

Still, we know that former owner Calvin Griffith said 'I'll tell you why we came to Minnesota. It was when I found out you only had 15,000 blacks here. Black people don't go to ball games" and while he was making that decision, he was likely deciding on logos and branding. The 1961 designed logo could have been a reflection of that mindset -- or it could have just been an misguided reflection of the state's demographics at that time. 

 

Either way, it does not take much for an organization to reflect on that past and that future. 

 

Baseball's audience is overwhelmingly white. According to Bloomberg in 2019, only 9% of the television-viewing audience is black. I cite James Clear's Atomic Habits a lot because of the main points he makes in his book is that small changes can have significant impacts later on. If making small change to the logo could help improve the perception of the organization to more people, it would be foolish not to take it into consideration. There is A LOT more that needs to be done to grow the game in that regard, to be sure, but making small strides when possible should be on the table. 

 

It may seem like a minor thing to us, but the impact could be felt down the road.

 

Finally, just to reiterate, there are many reasons to consider making changes to a logo but let's be clear here and understand that no one is outright offended by this logo. That is not a part of the conversation.

    • SQUIRREL, nicksaviking, bighat and 1 other like this

It's just so silly. Some people actually spend their time to make a big deal out of things like a sports logo. A logo that nobody thinks is offensive. These people need a hobby. 

    • Channing1964 likes this

 

Why is requesting a "subtle yet very significant update that honors and reflects the team’s players and its fans from different backgrounds" a false sense of need?

 

Inclusion is a very real need. As I read Crutchfield's statements, he is using that as an opportunity for a discussion on what that looks like, not a condemnation on the existing logo. 

 

 

Nobody said that the logo was offensive.

 

Crutchfield never mentioned being offended about the logo or the logo itself being offensive. In fact, he said that he has "always loved Ray Barton’s original ‘Minnie and Paul’ logo design" in his statement. 

 

He provided updated version of the logo he provided on his Facebook page. In addition to being a seamless transition, the Black person on the St. Paul side not only provides a level of diversity to the logo, but it could also serve to honor Roy Campanella who became the first African-American to play in the American Association when he joined the Saints in 1948

 

 

There is certainly room for both in this game.

 

The sport honors Jackie Robinson one day a year by having every player wearing 42 or black and white jerseys. Some teams choose to use Negro League uniforms on turn-back-the-clock days.

 

This is imagery. 

 

You can have both discussions about how images are perceived AND work toward actionable changes. 

 

 

Again, no one said the logo was offensive. 

 

Still, we know that former owner Calvin Griffith said 'I'll tell you why we came to Minnesota. It was when I found out you only had 15,000 blacks here. Black people don't go to ball games" and while he was making that decision, he was likely deciding on logos and branding. The 1961 designed logo could have been a reflection of that mindset -- or it could have just been an misguided reflection of the state's demographics at that time. 

 

Either way, it does not take much for an organization to reflect on that past and that future. 

 

Baseball's audience is overwhelmingly white. According to Bloomberg in 2019, only 9% of the television-viewing audience is black. I cite James Clear's Atomic Habits a lot because of the main points he makes in his book is that small changes can have significant impacts later on. If making small change to the logo could help improve the perception of the organization to more people, it would be foolish not to take it into consideration. There is A LOT more that needs to be done to grow the game in that regard, to be sure, but making small strides when possible should be on the table. 

 

It may seem like a minor thing to us, but the impact could be felt down the road.

 

Finally, just to reiterate, there are many reasons to consider making changes to a logo but let's be clear here and understand that no one is outright offended by this logo. That is not a part of the conversation.

 

Parker, you hit every, single point exactly correct. It's not about being offensive or offending ... it's clearly not that at all. It's about being inclusive. The offense seems to come into play when anyone suggests being inclusive ... even in the most minor ways. That baffles me. If you think the logo is no big deal, then how is it a big deal to change it in the most minor way possible that could be impactful?

    • nicksaviking likes this
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Ted Schwerzler
Aug 14 2020 11:21 AM

Parker, you hit every, single point exactly correct. It's not about being offensive or offending ... it's clearly not that at all. It's about being inclusive. The offense seems to come into play when anyone suggests being inclusive ... even in the most minor ways. That baffles me. If you think the logo is no big deal, then how is it a big deal to change it in the most minor way possible that could be impactful?


My response would be that I think there’s far more impactful ways to drive inclusivity and don’t see this as much more than shock value or doing so for the sake of doing so. If that’s wrong or incorrect, or there was a way to measure a significant impact, then by all means do so.
    • SQUIRREL and Channing1964 like this
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nicksaviking
Aug 14 2020 12:39 PM

I've always thought the logo was pretty hokey anyway. They can do better.

 

I don't think the Twins need to have a caricature of anyone in their logo, but if for some reason that's essential, why not Paul Molitor and Dave Winfield holding up HOF plaques and looking smugly across the river to the West at a forlorn Kent Hrbek?

    • Channing1964 likes this
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Channing1964
Aug 14 2020 06:06 PM
Some things are a direct reference to racial inequity and discrimination. (i.e. the Griffith statue) However, i do not live in Minneapolis anymore but Minneapolis is always with me in my heart. I cant explain my emotions during the George Floyd tragedy and the ongoing civil unrest except to say i wished i could have flown home to help out in any way. At what point do we say no to changing traditionally non offensive mainstays of our team history? How in the hell is the minnie and paul logo offensive to anybody? I miss the pinstripes and i can see them doing away with the TC emblem soon. Leave the Twins tradition alone. If we feel a need to create a new logo that represents our cultural diversity then CREATE ONE. Use it equally with our other ones. Lets please not forget our team's past.

 

It's just so silly. Some people actually spend their time to make a big deal out of things like a sports logo. A logo that nobody thinks is offensive. These people need a hobby. 

It's just so silly. Some people actually spend their time commenting on a message board about a sports logo. Suggesting a subtle change that nobody thinks is offensive. These people need a hobby.

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Richard Swerdlick
Aug 16 2020 05:48 PM

How about Minnie and Pablo

I think there is a lot that can be done with the logo to reflect what baseball looks like today but keep the spirit of cooperation that the original logo portrays.